Earlier this month, news from Shanghai reported a Chinese woman electrocuted by a faulty, and suspected counterfeit, iPhone charger.
Following reports of the electrocution death, a similar incident the next week left another person in a coma.
At this point, Apple’s stronghold in its second largest market, China, was anything but secure. Instead of taking a major hit to its bottom line, Apple was able to turn this disaster into an opportunity, by launching a buyback program for fake iPhone chargers.
In a statement, the company said, “Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters.”
Starting August 16, Apple announced that it will offer customers the option to swap their third-party chargers for a certified Apple charger. The program is set to run through October 18 and users will be able to make the exchange for $10—half the usual price of their iPod, iPad, and iPhone chargers. Customers will have to bring in their Apple gadgets, each containing a unique serial number, and the exchange will be limited to one discounted charger per device.
By offering to buy back all third-party chargers, even those made by legitimate vendors like Belkin and Griffin, “Apple is cementing its own super-premium-priced chargers as the gold standard,” said Adam Pasick of Qz.com.
This value proposition that Apple’s buyback program offers may not only be a lifesaver, literally, but potentially could become a game changer for the brand.
Even at 50% off, reports say, the company stands to make a profit. The components in Apple’s “high-quality” chargers only cost a dollar more to manufacture than Samsung’s chargers, which retails for $6 to $10. Not to mention, the renewed surge of traffic to stores, with Apple users trading in their chargers, may further boost the bottom line. In Apple’s first quarter, for every customer that entered the store, the company collected $57.60 in revenue.
After all, even the consumer with the greatest willpower, when faced with the newest gadgets on the Apple store’s floor, would have a hard time leaving empty handed.